I honestly felt safer in Thailand in a lot of ways than I do at home. I can't really tell you why that is. Maybe it's because I never watched scary movies there, or maybe it's because I felt the protection of all the prayers for my safety being said back home.
Despite my feelings of safety, I WASN'T safer. I'd heard enough stories to know that. My friend Harj, one of the teachers at the Baan Unrak school, told me all kinds of scary stories about Sangkhlaburi. Supposedly a volunteer that lived in Harj's house a few years ago was murdered by an ex-boyfriend in that very house and....well I won't tell you the details on that story. But Harj also told me about the girl who manages the dog sanctuary (right across the street from me). Apparantly, Gemma was walking either to or from the wooden bridge just a little bit after sunset, and she was attacked by a man who tried to rape her. Luckily, she had her trusty dogs with her, and they saved her, but after hearing that story, I was much more cautious about walking alone at night.
It's common knowledge in Thailand that many monks are former criminals and convicts who escape to the monastery to claim sanctuary. Every time we would pass by or talk about a monk, Harj would say "recipe for rape," and then laugh as if it were the funniest joke in the world. I tried to avoid monks.
Probably the stories that made me the most nervous were the stories about my mentally disabled next-door neighbor. I don't think that he's a malicious, or intentionally dangerous person, but apparently he once beat an older man and put him in a coma. And another time, he broke into the front room of our house (the room that I was sleeping in for the first few weeks of my stay), and was found sleeping there the next morning (luckily this particular incident happened BEFORE I was sleeping in that room, and I didn't hear about it until after I was no longer sleeping there). I still always greeted that man as I walked to and from the home every morning, but I was always very careful to lock the doors whether I was home or away.
Haha...it's really no wonder why I was so excited when Laura came to live with me, and I didn't have to stay in that house alone any more.
Thanks again for all of your prayers =) I'm sure much of the credit goes to you that I'm now safely back home!